Kalba ir tapatybė Kristijono Gotlybo Milkaus žodyno Littauisch-deutsches und Deutsch-littauisches Wörter-Buch (1800) pratarmėse: diskurso analizė
Volume 23 (2021): Archivum Lithuanicum, pp. 101–136
Pub. online: 31 December 2021 Type: Article Open Access
31 December 2021
31 December 2021
The article deals with the discourse pertaining to the ties between the Lithuanian language and identity in the Prussian Kingdom at the cusp of the 18th and the 19th centuries. The main sources here are four forewords to Christian Gottlieb Mielcke’s (Lith. Kristijonas Gotlybas Milkus) dictionary Littauisch-deutsches und Deutsch-littauisches Wörter-Buch (1800) as monologue texts sharing the following elements: (1) the subject of the focus (the view of the language and the nation); (2) the direct context (book publication); (3) the historical context (the political situation in the Prussian Kingdom at the cusp of the 18th and the 19th centuries); (4) the target (German reader); (5) the contents (descriptive and evaluative statements about the language and the nation). Discourse analysis is applied as a methodological access-way. In this discourse, views of the language and the nation were articulated by persons holding different positions: (1) Christian Gottlieb Mielcke, cantor at the Evangelic Lutheran Church of Pilkalnis; (2) Daniel Jenisch, philosopher and Evangelic Lutheran priest of Berlin;
(3) Christoph Friedrich Heilsberg, counsellor at the House of War and Domains in Königsberg, school counsellor in Königsberg; (4) philosopher Immanuel Kant. Since Heilsberg initiated Mielcke’s foreword in April of 1799 and wrote one himself in December of 1799, brokered the deal between Mielcke and the printing house and kept correspondence with all the authors, he could have provided an impetus for writing forewords to others, and then given them the conditions to rely on the texts by one another to formulate a relevant
discourse about the Lithuanian language and nation. All four forewords target the German reader. The authors of the forewords imagined the target differently, with Mielcke and Heilsberg approaching it from a rather pragmatic, Jenisch and Kant, a scientific position. Mielcke identified five target groups: priests, teachers, lawyers, translators, merchants; according to Heilsberg, these were public servants, lawyers, merchants, and teachers, hence both of them were focusing on the non-Lithuanians whose duty it was to proliferate general and religious teaching, solve legal and administrative issues, engage in trade. Jenisch and Kant primarily focused on members of the scientific and educational tribe. As representatives of different trades, the authors of the forewords also differed in their descriptions of the underlying subject of the discourse: 1. Mielcke defined the range of the Lithuanian language that had expanded in the Prussian Kingdom after the Third Partition of the Polish–Lithuanian (1795) and the need for it to be learned by non-Lithuanians, in the New Eastern Prussia post annexation in particular, to facilitate the formation of communications. In his description of the key users of the Lithuanian language, he also addressed the cultural (language, customs, traditions) and social (rustic origin) aspects of identity. 2. Jenisch considered the Lithuanian language scientifically valuable due to how old it was, its affinity with other languages, and the conservation of the characteristic features of the parent language, yet predicted its demise and raised the question of recording it for science. Jenisch approached all languages as tools for the formation and preservation of the nation’s character, and considered language and customs to be the key elements of the individuality of nations and, by the same margin, the cultural identity of Lithuanians. He saw the national Lithuanian pride and distrust towards foreigners (that could only be turned into trust when these latter spoke Lithuanian) as negative traits. Jenisch tied the disappearance of the old views and the cultural advancement with education and contacts with the western neighbouring nations; hence he approached the introduction of the German language as the right tool for the expansion of education and culture.